Beliefnet
Letting Go with Guy Finley

Looking closely at ourselves, an honest self-appraisal reveals that no one strong, authoritative voice is giving us direction. Instead, many disparate voices vie for power. The cause of the resulting confusion and unhappiness lies in all those self-centered, touchy parts of us that insist, one after the other, that the world conform to their demands. It’s a cacophony of voices inside, each one screaming for attention; each one oblivious to the others and to reality itself; each one insisting that it is who we really are. As we are whipsawed from one self to another, the decisions of one may no longer be matched by the desires of another. Something in us watches it all in despair, knowing there is nothing in control. We vow to work harder so that one day we can fulfill our goal of becoming a person with a steady, complete nature. But then, before we know it, we’re caught up in yet another battle for some illusive prize and forget all our good intentions.

Is there any way to win back our lives?

Is it possible for the right parts within us to prevail? Can one strong, right voice overwhelm all the others?

Yes! It is possible to find that right authority within. The transformation occurs naturally when we first see our situation fully, and then wish to remove ourselves from it above all else.

The true measure of character is directly connected to our willingness to be fully accountable for what we are in each moment.

back of man on peak overlooking mountains

The only higher facts that can transform our lives are those that have been made our own through firsthand experience. Until a child learns to walk for himself, he cannot move from place to place on his own, regardless of how many people he has seen walk. In the same way, memorized ideas woven into a person’s thinking without any true understanding will be of no help during a crisis. Surface ideas that have not taken hold in a person’s heart cannot grow and mature so that they touch all of a person’s life with guidance and wisdom. Parroted ideas do not provide real strength any more than the word “sugar” painted on a lemon makes it sweet.

When you see a truth from yourself, however, through your own experience, it becomes a part of you. It proves itself to you again and again through more wide-ranging examples that you yourself discover, and it attracts other truths to it. With time your clarity of vision grows, and because it is based on Truth, it cannot be shaken. What starts as one right idea – a single drop of refreshing water – grows to a generously flowing fountain that nourishes and sustains you for life.

Part of the development of character in a human being — which can only be nourished by humility — is a growing recognition of how totally and undeniably they have missed the mark. There is only one way that a person could ever know with certainty that they’ve missed the mark, (so that there isn’t recrimination inside of themselves), and that is that they stand in the light of something that shows them at once what they are, and by what reveals that, they see what they could be.

It is in that gradual and ultimate realization that you are not going to save yourself that you start understanding how important it is to confess yourself to yourself… which is what you’re afraid of. You don’t know what to do with not wanting to be you. You can never stop not wanting to be you until you see, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that there’s nothing you can do about being you. Then, little-by-little, you’re willing (with absolute comfort and certainty) to bring before the interior eyes that have shown you yourself the understanding that the right thing to do is to never lose sight of what it is that you cannot and must not be. But, for most people, this is a very unwanted condition, because it involves a constant, conscious suffering of being present to yourself.

Being present to yourself means that you don’t lose sight of what you are because somebody says something nice to you. You don’t forget what it is that you have done and been simply because you get something that you hoped for. Instead, everything that happens is part of this broad understanding of who and what you are… without judging yourself.

God is always asking you, “What is it that you really want?” And when the heart has been stripped of its false pride, when the mind has been thrashed free of the chaff of embarrassment and regret (and everything else that keeps resistance in place), then such a heart and mind can stand before the moment, as it is, and have no problem whatsoever.

There must be a willingness — without fear, judgment, or self-loathing — to look straight into the eye that has shown you what your character has been, and to see every one of the instances in which that nature has acted against itself (and, of course, everyone else — including you). Because it’s through that wish on your part to be so clear in what it is that you really want from this life, that there’s no mistaking it. Then when life brings moments in which you suddenly see what you are –when you see what has been wrought in you – there is no confusion. There is no other wish other than what you would confess, what you would tell God is true about you and what you want Him to know about you (even though He already does). It isn’t God that benefits from your prayers.